Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny

Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny

A.S. Byatt / Apr 04, 2020

Peacock Vine On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny From the Booker Prize winning author a ravishing intimate richly illustrated meditation on two astonishingly original artists whose work and remarkable lives have obsessed her for years William Morr

  • Title: Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny
  • Author: A.S. Byatt
  • ISBN: 9781101947470
  • Page: 304
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the Booker Prize winning author a ravishing, intimate, richly illustrated meditation on two astonishingly original artists whose work and remarkable lives have obsessed her for years William Morris and Mariano Fortuny were born decades apart in the 19th century Morris, a wealthy Englishman, was a designer beloved for his floral patterns that grace wallpaper, servFrom the Booker Prize winning author a ravishing, intimate, richly illustrated meditation on two astonishingly original artists whose work and remarkable lives have obsessed her for years William Morris and Mariano Fortuny were born decades apart in the 19th century Morris, a wealthy Englishman, was a designer beloved for his floral patterns that grace wallpaper, serving ware, upholstery, and countless other objects even today Fortuny, a Spanish aristocrat, is now less recognized but was revolutionary in his time, in his ideas about everything from theatrical lighting to women s fashion Though seeming opposites, these two men of genius and driving energy have long presented a tantalizing juxtaposition to A S Byatt in this delightful book she delves into how their work converses with her across space and time At once personal, critical, and historical, Peacock Vine is a gorgeously illustrated tour of their private and public worlds the women who were their muses their eccentrically curated homes the alluring works themselves, and above all what it means to this one brilliant and curious writer, whose signature gift for rendering character and place enlivens every page Rich with insight and color, this book is itself a work of art, one to savor and treasure.

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    About "A.S. Byatt"

      • A.S. Byatt

        A.S Byatt Antonia Susan Byatt is internationally known for her novels and short stories Her novels include the Booker Prize winner Possession, The Biographer s Tale and the quartet, The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, and her highly acclaimed collections of short stories include Sugar and Other Stories, The Matisse Stories, The Djinn in the Nightingale s Eye, Elementals and her most recent book Little Black Book of Stories A distinguished critic as well as a writer of fiction, A S Byatt was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999ATT, Dame Antonia Susan , Dame Antonia Duffy , DBE 1999 CBE 1990 FRSL 1983 Chevalier de l Ordre des Arts et des Lettres France , 2003 , writer born 24 Aug 1936 Daughter of His Honour John Frederick Drabble, QC and late Kathleen Marie BloorByatt has famously been engaged in a long running feud with her novelist sister, Margaret Drabble, over the alleged appropriation of a family tea set in one of her novels The pair seldom see each other and each does not read the books of the other.Married1st, 1959, Ian Charles Rayner Byatt Sir I C R Byatt marriage dissolved 1969 one daughter one son deceased 2nd, 1969, Peter John Duffy two daughters.EducationSheffield High School The Mount School, York Newnham College, Cambridge BA Hons Hon Fellow 1999 Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, USA Somerville College, Oxford.Academic Honours Hon Fellow, London Inst 2000 Fellow UCL, 2004Hon DLitt Bradford, 1987 DUniv York, 1991 Durham, 1991 Nottingham, 1992 Liverpool, 1993 Portsmouth, 1994 London, 1995 Sheffield, 2000 Kent 2004 Hon LittD Cambridge, 1999PrizesThe PEN Macmillan Silver Pen Of Fiction prize, 1986 for STILL LIFEThe Booker Prize, 1990, for POSSESSIONIrish Times Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize, 1990 for POSSESSIONThe Eurasian section of Best Book in Commonwealth Prize, 1991 for POSSESSIONPremio Malaparte, Capri, 1995 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, California, 1998 for THE DJINN IN THE NIGHTINGALE S EYEShakespeare Prize, Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg, 2002 Publications The Shadow of the Sun, 1964 Degrees of Freedom, 1965 reprinted as Degrees of Freedom the early novels of Iris Murdoch, 1994 The Game, 1967 Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time, 1970 reprinted as Unruly Times Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time, 1989 Iris Murdoch 1976The Virgin in the Garden, 1978 GEORGE ELIOT Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings , 1979 editor Still Life, 1985Sugar and Other Stories, 1987 George Eliot selected essays, 1989 editor Possession a romance, 1990Robert Browning s Dramatic Monologues, 1990 editor Passions of the Mind, essays , 1991 Angels and Insects novellae ,1992The Matisse Stories short stories ,1993 The Djinn in the Nightingale s Eye five fairy stories, 1994Imagining Characters, 1995 joint editor New Writing 4, 1995 joint editor Babel Tower, 1996 New Writing 6, 1997 joint editor The Oxford Book of English Short Stories, 1998 editor Elementals Stories of fire and ice short stories , 1998 The Biographer s Tale, 2000 On Histories and Stories essays , 2000 Portraits in Fiction, 2001 The Bird Hand Book, 2001 Photographs by Victor Schrager Text By AS Byatt A Whistling Woman, 2002Little


    552 Comments

    1. 3.5 Byatt's musings on Fortuna and Morris, not of the same generation, not even the same country and yet, both men who were their art. A beautifully packaged book, the pictures glorious, the writing almost surreal, not entirely cohesive and yet for me this suited the book as a whole. Will admit enjoying the first part of the book more than the second, but it was all an interesting read. Their personal lives, the people they met, so many notables of the time periods, their houses, Morris's being [...]


    2. Da troppo tempo ormai aspettiamo un nuovo romanzo da Antonia Byatt (sarà quello annunciato su surrealisti e psicanalisti tra la prima e la seconda guerra mondiale?); direi, da The Children's Book (2009), perché Ragnarök non conta. E non conterà nemmeno questo Peacock & Vine; però chi oserebbe lamentarsi quando riceve la possibilità di chiacchierare un paio di giorni con Byatt su Morris e Fortuny, sul verde dei boschi inglesi e la luce acquamarina di Venezia, sulle case e i giardini, su [...]


    3. This is really more of an essay than a book, a fact that Byatt does acknowledge. There is quite a bit of Byatt in here. It's more of a mediation on the two artists than anything. Still a fascinating read.


    4. I hoped to love this. I am a fan of Byatt, Morris, and Fortuny. It was one of those how-bad-could-it-be scenarios. It is mostly not good. It is poorly researched rehash of more comprehensive nonfiction about these two great craftsmen. Read the entries for Morris and Fortuny and then look for images online. The illustrations are small and the captions only at the end of this little book; better illustrations are easy to find with a Google search. Did I find anything useful or interesting? Yes, I [...]


    5. Біографічний нарис про Вільяма Морріса й Мар'яно Фортуні пера невимовно прекрасної А.С. Баєтт, себто насправді дуже self-indulgent нарис про саму А.С. Баєтт, про її любов до ремісників і речей (привіт, "Дитяча книга"), про її любов до екфрастичних описів із болісними довгими спробами [...]


    6. This reads like two long magazine articles -- one about William Morris and the other about Mariano Fortuny -- that have been mashed together for comparison and contrast. Some of the descriptions read like an auction catalog of a museum plaque. I got proof of this book as an advance reader copy; that was tiny -- six or seven inches on each side, and thin. The illustrations were all in black and white. Byatt's writing is, of course, good. Eventually it occurred to me that this tiny black-and-white [...]


    7. "So I embarked on an essay without knowing what I should find." Byatt makes an essay as foray, a genuine act of exploration, a sort of meandering way that leads to seeing unsuspected connections and perspectives. I don't know that I got the comparison between Fortuny and Morris, but never mind because it was just fun listening to Byatt look at a painting, tapestry, or fabric. Her description is full of a relish for beauty, and attention to color, pattern, and detail.The design and illustrations [...]


    8. This beautiful little hardcover book was a gift from a writer friend of mine who knew of my fascination with William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. It is an extended personal essay, in which A.S. Byatt shares with us her personal response to the lives of two men whose art and creativity echoed each other in interesting ways. The first is William Morris, one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement and a poet who refused to become Queen Victoria’s Poet Laureate. Nowadays he is best know [...]


    9. I have bogged down in both attempts to read novels by AS Byatt due to her excessive wordiness. I did manage a book of her short stories, and this is only 181 pages, so when kept in check her writing is good. Morris and Fortuny don't have anything in particular in common, they just happen to be favorites of hers, this is actually a sort of ode to the two of them.It makes a nice introduction. I am quite familiar with Morris, but wasn't so much with Fortuny. Overall this is a lovely little book.


    10. mariano fortuny e william morris- all'apparenza figure diversissime, con vite profondamente differenti e tuttavia uniti dall'importanza nella ricerca estetica, nell'innovazione nelle arti applicate e da alcuni temi presenti nei loro lavori. in questo breve saggio, la byatt racconta e documenta due artisti da lei amati, con un testo semplice e pieno di amore, molte immagini e una ricca bibliografia. edizione inglese bellissima e molto curata (e, a differenza della costosa einaudi, reperibile a un [...]


    11. I read this extended essay on the works of William Morris and Mariano Fortuny on the recommendation of an art historian. It was a bit meandering and sometimes a bit hard to follow, but there was also something pleasing in the more organic structure of the essay that seemed to fit its subject.


    12. Review is of the uncorrected proof, received as a giveaway (thanks!). Not a biography, nor a proper monograph (especially true for the uncorrected proof, which lacks full size plates and color, which is a shame sense the author's perception of color is a central concern), the intent of this extended essay is somewhat unclear; none-the-less, it is a good introduction to both figures, with a personal touch revealing what it is about each man that appeals to the author: "E.M. Forster once remarked [...]


    13. This is a slightly strange little book; definitely in the category of secondary material rather than anything original (the sections on Morris lean heavily on Fiona MacCarthy's biography, which is acknowledged). The interesting bit is the attempt to draw parallels between Morris and Fortuny, who were not really connected at all and came from different times and places. The book is nicely produced, using Golden Cockerel type, and is a nice size to hold (a small and nearly square hardback). The il [...]


    14. An absolute jewel of a book! A.S. Byatt, long a lover of the quintessentially British work and design of William Morris, visits Venice and sets out to learn more about the work of the quintessentially Mediterranean designer Mariano Fortuny, born a generation after Morris. What she discovers is that each inevitably brings to mind the other.The book is richly illustrated with images of most of the specific works discussed at length. In addition are photographs of their respective homes, workspaces [...]


    15. It is a nice comparison study of the two artists. They did have similar design themes they both used. It gives enough background so you now who, and when, these two men are. You get the idea they both had their hands in more than one craft. The one drawback is the images. There is a list in the back of the book on what each image is. But the problem is that the images are not placed in the text opposite the same page that mentions that image. And no image has any indication on it's page of what [...]


    16. A non-fiction from Byatt that focus on the talents of William Morris and Mariano Fortuny (no, i'd never heard of him either).Byatt's interest focuses on the beautiful designs created by both and has some great illustrations.I also learnt that Morris had a longstanding friendship and business partnership with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, despite Rossetti having a long-term affair with Morris's wife Jane who was the source of inspiration for most of the female images he painted.Lastly, both Morris and [...]


    17. Having been my first experience reading a.s. byatt i have to say i kind of hoped for morewhatever more is.However that does not stop me from saying this is a little gem of a book - lovely pictures and many examples of Morris and Fortuny´s work. i wont bore you all with a description of who the two men wereny here have done it much better than i ever could.This is not however, hence my disappointment no doubt, a proper biography of the two men. Consider it more of an essay on how these men and t [...]


    18. I think the only thing William Morris and Mariano Fortuny have in common is that A.S. Byatt likes them; but so do I (and I like A.S. Byatt) so I enjoyed this beautifully illustrated compare-and-contrast essay. The pictures are uncaptioned because they fall exactly in the text where you need them. It's a beautiful little book.


    19. Still beautiful the second time around!Just in time for the Manus x Machina show at the Met, which features some Fortuny dresses, which made this book's entire argument suddenly click for me. Thus the re-read.==(September 2015) Beautiful!


    20. I enjoyed reading about William Morris, of whom I have long been a fan, but the rest of the book, which was about Mariano Fortuny made me yawn.



    21. Byatt presents a beautiful, highly personal essay on Morris and Fortuny which I read in a single sitting. I came to this as a big fan of both Morris and Byatt but knew nothing of Fortuny (despite having read Proust - I assumed that Fortuny in In Search of Lost Time was another fictional artist like Vintieul, Bergma, and Elstir). Byatt has very much broadened how I look at Morris' work generally and printed patterns more specifically whether they are wallpaper, fabric, or whatever. As the book is [...]


    22. Iets meer dan een jaar geleden las ik "Threads" over het leven van John Craske. Ik heb dat boek geweldig graag gelezen omdat het ook ging over de schrijfster zelf (Julia Blackburn) en over de mensen die ze ontmoette tijdens haar zoektocht naar informatie en ook hun (kleine) verhalen.Ik had gehoopt iets gelijkaardigs te vinden in dit boek over stoffenkunstenaars Fortuny en Morris. Maar niets van dat alles.Het begon allemaal boeiend met het schetsen van hun leven en hun relatie tot hun vrouw, maar [...]


    23. I appreciate what AS Byatt was trying to do with this book, but somehow I still felt "left out" of her thoughts on these artists. Of course, one will always be on the outside looking in when it comes to someone else's thoughts, but with a book devoted to the subject, I still felt a bit in the dark about both artists and their connection to one another and the authors connection to that connection (ha). Byatt's passion was there, though, along with the beautiful artwork, which made this a pleasan [...]


    24. I was excited to read a book comparing the work of Fortuny and Morris, but the execution of the concept fell short. The book is too brief to do justice to the artists and yet seems interminably long, owing to its dull writing style. It's beautifully designed and produced, aside from the fact that the illustrations have no captions and don't always appear near the relevant text. Overall, a great disappointment.


    25. I read this on an airplane, which was perfect. Quick easy read with nice photographs. Interesting information about Fortuny and William Morris -- innovative artists/ craftspeople, both with a very individual drive and vision about their work. Both almost immeasurably influential in their fields. I would read anything Byatt writes and enjoyed this. Only really for people who are interested in decorative arts/ arts / fashion though.


    26. Only knew about William Morris only as one of the seminal members of the Arts and Crafts movement and Fortuny for his slinky dresses and distinctively art nouveau prints. This essay has brought their work and motifs, as well as personal lives, into intriguing contrapuntal contrast. Makes me want to read more of Morris's writing - never knew he was such an elegant describer of landscapes - and see more Fortuny prints in closeup.


    27. A small book (roughly 6 by 7 inches) with Byatt's thoughts and impressions of Morris and Fortuny, their art, their lives, their philosophies. Beautiful but small illustrations complement her beautiful but brief prose. A quick read, a teaser if you will, as one (female) artist contemplates the designs and wives of two (male) artists.



    28. Reflective (no pun intended) essay by Byatt on the two multimedia artists William Morris and Mariano Fortuny. Beautiful illustrations.


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